Posts Tagged ‘literature’

 

A Way, When There Seems To Be No Way

 

Have you ever put time into something and as time past, felt that you were spinning your wheels or grinding your gears trying to make something happen? I have! You see, my writing career didn’t start yesterday, I didn’t wake up this morning and just sell 1,000 copies of Barney & Lexi: Lost In Lawrenceville. I wasn’t traveling to schools in the early stages of my career either, in fact, I can’t begin to count how many times I felt like I was spinning my wheels with opportunity and there were a few times that I really felt like my gears were grinding for sure!

My career as a writer began in 2003, when Lynden was born. I would get up with him throughout the night and once he began to have a fairly regular pattern of sleeping, I began spending the time in between his waking up, writing my first book, The Adventures of Marky, Slash & Levy. Those moments were usually very late at night, by myself in a room with only a desk lamp on and just plugging away at my keyboard. No one knew what I was doing, no one outside Lawrence County knew my name or even knew I was a writer.

In those years that followed, I wondered if I would ever make it happen. Would my work ever be read by young readers? Would I ever do a book signing? Would I ever get a big break? All three answers are YES! Although I had no idea in those early days. I have sold over 1,000 books this year, done dozens of signings and my big break will come on September 14th when I travel to Chicago and speak to the largest children’s literary group in the United States.

Sometimes, I get told that I’m ‘just lucky’, or that ‘success just happens overnight’. I actually don’t believe in luck in the manner that it is viewed today. I believe that luck is the moment that preparedness meets opportunity. I also believe that success is no ‘overnight’ thing. I thought about quitting a few times and sometimes, had to walk away from my desk for a few months to take everything in and find clarity. Then it was right back to it, because I knew what I really wanted and had to see it through.

For years, I felt like I had little money, few connections and even less opportunity. For years I had no Facebook page, and then I finally created one and only used that to connect with others for the next ten years. I look back now and see that I had so many outlets but let fear keep me from using them. Then, one day, I looked in the mirror and told myself, “There will be doubters, you will be laughed at, mocked and ignored. Levi, your going to fail and that’s alright because you will learn and grow stronger. Carry those fears right into battle and watch them disappear!” I remember that day well.

I sat down and began learning Social Media. I began with no media and now use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to put my passion out there. This has given me so much back and while I could spend the time wishing I had done that sooner, I won’t waste my time with the past. I’m heading forward and refuse to look back.

I feel like it is a perfect time to retell the story of the Japanese Bambo Tree. The Japanese Bambo Tree remains a nut underground for five years. During that time, it must be watered and fertilized daily to survive or it will die. For five years, there will be no results (much like when we feel we are spinning our wheels and grinding gears). Then, something big happens and the tree sprouts through the surface and will grow 90 feet in one year! It took five years to actually grow that 90 feet though. It may have only seemed like a buried nut but during that time underground, that nut was earning its right to live and grow.

You may be sitting right now and wondering what else you can do to keep moving towards your dream. One thing for sure is to keep doing what your doing if it is yielding any type of result. If it isn’t, can you change anything about it to help it grow? Are you using Social Media to your advantage? Are you letting fear keep you from one avenue or another? Look in the mirror and tell yourself that regardless of any outcome, YOUR GOING TO MAKE IT, and the doors will open up as you press forward. I can’t explain it but the harder I push, the more doors that open for me, something I doubted years ago. Never doubt that there is a way, when there seems to be no way!

“Everything is IMPOSSIBLE, until someone crazy enough comes along and makes it POSSIBLE!”
– CT Fletcher

This morning was the first morning that small puddles of water had iced over, signalling the coming of a new season. This morning also allowed me to get four more magazines written to and some more preparation done for my upcoming visits to Parkside Elementary School.

narrative

Today, I wrote to the magazines: Puritan, Bomb, 3 A.M. and Narrative. All four accept interviews and I am looking forward to hearing from them over the next couple of weeks. I am always prepared for a rejection but I am still driven to write as many as I possible can and not let that slow me down, but rather, fail forward.

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I am also excited because I had a wonderful Sunday with my children! With the leaves all fallen around our home, we spent the afternoon, raking and blowing leaves away. There was a ton of laughing and my kids earn the money they made from working  hard.

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I have been listening to Arnold Schwarzenegger give success speeches all morning and believe him 100% when he says, “You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.” So, before I had to my paying work, that doesn’t feel like work, let me wish you a wonderful Monday and hope success is finding you today!

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What an awesome weekend!! My third book, BARNEY & LEXI: LOST IN LAWRENCEVILLE, is making a second attempt at the top 100 on amazon’s children’s book list!!

Only $6.99, you can grab one for a young reader!! We can do this today and I am so pumped for your help!!! Just click the link below guys!

2-books

Today, a copy I have of my second book, which is not currently in print: MARKY, SLASH & LEVY: RETURN TO MAVENWOOD is going with Barney & Lexi to a special fan who has had my first book: THE ADVENTURES OF MARKY, SLASH & LEVY (also not currently available) since 2007.

I am so pumped to be sending Barney & Lexi off again and to have Marky, Slash & Levy go with them is pure excitement! I hope they all have an exciting trip!!

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This week has been a difficult one for me. The truth is, my positive train derailed and led to a very rough and uncomfortable Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

I drove this crazy train for many months now, staying focused, being positive and creating some successes here and there. With that daily grind, stress began to build over those months and many things unraveled in the middle of this week, leaving me worse for wear. Just like with any success, strain means that your growing.

I stumbled over those three days and spent most of it trying to force myself back on my feet to carry on. I realized that it happens sometimes and regardless of what happens in those moments of strain, my character is building and who I am is being molded into a success.

I remembered to focus on all that I have invested in myself and thank my God for understanding why I fell. Tonight I sat down and cranked out not one page but two pages in The Boondock Kids and have gotten them into the wonderful land of Warrenstead.

I refuse to lay down, the struggle hurts, but you want to know the truth? Doing nothing hurts worse!! I could choose to lay down, I could take the easy path and say what I have is good enough, but IT ISN’T!!! I will become a successful FULL-TIME author and I will not get there by laying down! I was hit hard for the first time in a long while, but those I was hit hard, I will keep going! I will not stop for nothing and nobody!! Now to tonight’s writing!

Mario, Louis, Sindy and Cristena stood on a plateau with Kelmare inside the Clawthorne Mountains. They began to feel as if something was coming and found themselves standing face to face with a Whimsic at last entry.

Kelmare begins to explain that if they make there way, slowly down the side of the plateau, perhaps one Whimsic will not attack them. Staying together would confuse the Whimsic into thinking that together, they were one single being.

Mario, Sindy and Kelmare began to back away while Louis and Cristena froze in their tracks at the site of second Whimsic. When Sindy realized that they were in trouble she alerted Mario and Kelmare. Kelmare then slowly made his way towards Louis and Cristena, who had decided to attempt slowly backtracking.

Suddenly a third Whimsic appeared and the three began staring at the five before them. Kelmare only reached halfway towards Louis and Cristena before the Whimsics quickly raised their arms and signaled an attack. Kelmare hollered for his friends to run down the slop next to the plateau as fast as they could. Mario and Sindy quickly made their way down the slop while Kelmare reached the edge of the plateau and turned to see that Louis and Cristena were going to reach the slop.

Kelmare then began his decent down the slop, followed by Louis and Cristena.Kelmare caught up with Mario and Sindy and snatched them up and wisked them around the corner of a large boulder. He asked them to quickly hold a hand and wait for his instruction. Kelmare then peered around the corner just in time to see Louis and Cristena. He quickly swooped them up and around the boulder.

Asking everyone to hold hands, the howling sounds of the approaching Whimsics could be heard. Mario, Louis, Sindy and Cristena were scared and closed their eyes. Feeling the Whimsics almost upon them, Kelmare placed his hands on the shoulders of Sindy and Cristena, who where right in front of him and the five disappeared from behind the boulder.

Just then, the Whimsics bolted around the boulder and let out loud shrieks that echoed the valley. They had lost their victims and where not happy about it.

Everyone would open their eyes and find themselves in a pleasant meadow that was covered with gentle grasses and wheeping willow trees. A calm breeze blew and skky light cast shadows of the trees on the meadow.

Louis asked where they were and Kelmare replied that they were now in the land of Warenstead.

It is now almost midnight and 5:30 will come soon. Time to head off to bed and prepare for a day that will see me back on my feet! Have a wonderful Monday and live it to the fullest!

191

Tonight I am a rocket flying through space!! I check in on my 3rd children’s book: BARNEY & LEXI: LOST IN LAWRENCEVILLE and found the two friends are about to hit BESTSELLER status!!

In the Children’s Book division, Barney & Lexi are ranked #191! If we can get the two to 100 then it will make the Top 100 BESTSELLERS!!!!

I WANT TO ASK FOR YOUR HELP!

If you have children or grandchildren or know of someone who would love to have a children’s book, go to Amazon.com and purchase a copy of BARNEY & LEXI: LOST IN LAWRENCEVILLE for only $6.99!!

Let’s make this thing big for these guys and help put a book into the hands of a young reader! WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN!!! Click the Link below for your opportunity to pick up Barney & Lexi: Lost In Lawrenceville!

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I AM SO PUMPED!!

BARNEY & LEXI: LOST IN LAWRENCEVILLE was my 3rd story and was written almost 8 years ago. The characters are of real pets that my Grandpa Fox and I had when I was younger. Barney was very much a clumsy, hap hazard Beagle while Lexi was spoiled rotten and pampered to no end. So very different but two of the greatest pets I could have.

Why am I pumped today? Because over the coarse of a week, Barney & Lexi have jumped over 500,000 places in Amazon sales ranking!! That has me excited for the two friends and I want to ask if all of you will help push these guys into the Bestseller list!!?

Only $6.99 is an awesome price and I will sign any copy that I recieve, directly to the reader with a personal message from the heart! I hope that everyone who has children or grandchildren will pick up Barney & Lexi and help get books into the hands of young and imaginative readers hands!!

Let’s push this into BESTSELLER status!! I am excited for your help!! Click the title below to grab a book for only $6.99!!!

Barney & Lexi: Lost In Lawrenceville

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This is a day that I will never forget! It is the day that I looked fear in the eyes and said, “I’m sorry but I want this more than you do!”

Today was the day that I was scheduled to speak to a high school writing class at Lawrenceville High School. It has been over a year ago that I last stood before anyone and talked about my writing. That audience was an amazing group of first graders and today it was seniors.

I had butterflies in my stomach before leaving and one of successes biggest enemies, FEAR, was trying to get in my way. Since I had been a while, doubt attempted to get inside my head and question if I could follow through with it, well I DID!!

I was led down the hallway and only two things were allowed into my head. 1.) A good friends advice that I had to be in a grateful state before going inside. 2.) Overcoming is what breeds success.

I showed them Marky, Slash, Levy, Barnie & Lexi. I spoke of all that I have learned on this crazy 13 year journey and when I asked for questions, a young mans hand in the very back slowly rose. He quietly told me that he wants to be the next Jim Hansen, creator of The Muppets. I told him in front of his classmates that I did not have to know him well to believe in him. I explained that the only one to stop him was him! I told him that no matter what, he can’t ever quit! A genuine smile came across his face and that sent an awesome rush through me and I loved knowing I helped encourage him.

I passed out samples of S.E. Illinois Family Living Magazine and my card before finishing my presentation. The teacher and I spoke for a while as the class read the magazine. It was then time to thank them all and return to my day job.

Today I came, fought fear and rocked this great day! Now, as I lay down, I can only hope I can sleep! Before I do, I want to wish you a great Tuesday ahead and hope you never stop believing!